PIETY THAT HONORS GOD
Devotional Reading Luke 11:1-13
Our lesson for this coming Sunday is a familiar one that we have had the opportunity to go over many times in the past. As we have seen in the past, each time we go over a familiar passage of scripture, there are always new nuggets of information that can be mined. This lesson’s passage of scripture is no different. Therefore, I am hoping and eagerly anticipating that as we study this lesson, we will glean new nuggets from this part of God’s word that will further illuminate our hearts and minds, so that we can powerfully and steadfastly expound on this word to our classmates, students and to all who will listen.
Today’s lesson comes from the book of Matthew. As you know, Mathew was a publican or tax collector, as we call them today, who lived during the time of Jesus Christ. He was called personally by Jesus to follow him, and although Matthew was a wealthy man, as was most tax collectors of that day, he immediately left his life to follow Jesus. Matthew is one of the original twelve Disciples called by Jesus to be His followers.
The Book of Matthew breaks the silence of the Old Testament and is the first book of the New Testament. Bible scholars and historians alike believe that Matthew wrote this book originally to the Jews of that day, to convince them that Jesus Christ is the one they had been watching and waiting for: the prophesized Savior, Messiah and Son of God.
This lesson connects with last week’s lesson, in that Jesus was in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. After emerging from the wilderness victoriously over Satan, Jesus began his earthly ministry of preaching, teaching and healing. Jesus called his Disciples and gained a large following of the multitudes because of his wonder works; preaching, teaching, and healing. In our printed text for today, Jesus is at the climax of his earthly ministry. His followers, including his Disciples and the multitudes, have witnessed Jesus performing miracles, such as turning water to wine, healing the lame and demon possessed, and raising the dead. Jesus also taught and preached as one with authority from on high. In this lesson, we find Jesus expounding on his life changing sermon on the mount. Our printed text is an excerpt from that sermon on giving and praying.
At this time in the life of Jesus, the Pharisees were very highly regarded religious leaders, bible scholars and teachers. They were considered devoted to God or pious by some, because they were legalistic keepers and enforcers of the Law of Moses. Because of their status in Jewish society the Pharisee wielded great influence and power over other Jews. Jews saw the Pharisees as examples of how they should act and what they should do to show their devotion to God and be considered pious.
In keeping with their status and position in society, the Pharisee touted there three acts to prove one’s devotion to God: the acts of fasting, giving and prayer. In this lesson, Jesus issues sharp warnings concerning two acts of the righteousness touted by the Pharisee: the act of prayer and giving.
Giving in Secret (Matthew 6:1-4)
Don’t do your good deed publicly to be admired.
Don’t announce your charitable giving like the hypocrite.
Don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. In other words, don’t toot your own horn when you give.
Give privately, God will reward publicly.
Jesus teachings directly contrast the actions of the Pharisees His hearers would have seen often from the Pharisees.
Giving to be seen rather than from humble submission to God is unrighteous.
Avoid your ego and pride when giving.
Give in humility and reverence to God.
Praying in secret (vv. 5-8)
The same secrecy principal is applicable to prayer.
Don’t be like the hypocrite who love to pray publicly or street corners and, in the synagogue, to be seen.
Hypocrites are those who find conspicuous places to stand and pray in order to have others admire their devotion and dedication.
Pray in the privacy of your closet.Go into your secret place to talk to God.He knows what you need before you ask.
God will see your secret prayer and reward you.
We should not pray to show others how pious and spiritual we are.
Our prayer should be to glorify and seek God and God alone.
Don’t babble like the Gentiles do. Your Father knows your needs even before you ask.
Don’t pray like the Gentiles using lots of words to try to impress and manipulate.
Our God is omniscient, and He stands ready to answer our prayer because of his love for us.
Word and Concepts to Know
Figure of speech. Why do you try to remove the speck of dust from your brothers’ eye when you have a beam in your own eye?
Tout aggressive attempts to sell something.
Piety – Devotion to God
Pharisees – taught that giving, fasting and praying demonstrated devotion to God.
Alms – What is given to someone for the benefit of a person in need. Everyone is expected to give alms, however one’s motives and manner of giving counts.
Getting praise and admiration from others does not show authentic worship or devotion to God.
One’s manner and attitude in doing a good deed count.
Sounding a trumpet is a figure of speech or exaggeration to make the point.
Hypocrites desire a fanfare by looking for praise.
Jesus cautions that improper motives carry their own reward because the action are acknowledged only by others, thus forfeiting any reward from God.
Hypocrites are pretenders and or deceiver.
Idiom - idiomatic expression
Conspicuous place – easily seen or notice place.
Honor God. Esteem to the highest level. When we honor God we do what pleases him.
The Sunday Teacher